You may not know what the 2022 Cherry Tiggo 8 Pro is, in among the sea of SUVs that crowd the roads, but you’ll definitely not miss it. In just a few years, Chery’s design language has developed from “look, we can do a chrome grille too,” to something unique and striking. Unapologetically different, and absolutely all the better for that. What it sorely needed, though, was an SUV to use that on.
The result is the 2022 Tiggo 8 Pro, and its starts out bold: a heroic crest feathered with Chery’s quad LED lights. Those strakes almost follow around to the front fenders, too, a neat piece of visual continuity that, though we’ve seen it on some German models already, still hasn’t got old. An uninterrupted shoulder line sweeps to the rear, the Tiggo 8 Pro’s roofline gently tapering in tandem, to matching rear LED clusters and a scalloped rear hatch.
It looks natural, and fluid; as though the sculptor teased back fluted clay with their fingertips. If I’ve got a complaint, it’s that the unusual wheels we’ve seen Chery tease on some of its China only models aren’t available on the SUV.
Inside, things are equally impressive. Chery refers to its design language as the “life in motion” a conscious nod toward relative minimalism and visual cleanliness. That’s a high bar to set.
The thing about luxury cars that some automakers struggle with is that they’re not just a long list of specifications and gadgets, it’s how you put all that together that truly counts. Without that, there’s no sense of cohesion, of identity. It’s something the German car companies figured out long ago, but a challenge new would-be luxury competitors still fall short in. You can have nice leather and wood, and all the toys an S-Class or a 7 Series lists on the order form, but that’s only half of “present and correct.” Chery makes all that affordable.
The dashboard is a wide swathe of soft coloured leather, and a bit of plastic finishes. Atop it is a 10.25-inch touchscreen, a wider-than-widescreen panel. The driver gets another sizable fully-digital 12.3-inch 3D cluster.
Cabin comfort controls are handled by a set of dedicated knobs. Below that is a 8-inch screen where you can swipe across the interface for fan or temperature adjustment.
Another bigger knurled knob takes care of the transmission, while another, smaller dial flicks between drive modes. Two more dials, slightly too recessed for my liking, handle more of the air conditioning.
The vast majority of it looks, and feels, stupendous. Whether it’s the intentional minimalism of Chery’s infotainment idle screen, or the detailing paid to each control stalk or steering wheel switch, there’s a thoughtfulness most other luxury upstarts struggle with.
The1.6 TGDI engine with 7DCT transmission has solid pickup and peak torque arrives up to 5 500 rpm; push harder, and Genesis’ transmission will happily kick down to keep you in that band, though it starts to lose a little aural composure. Twisty roads clearly aren’t the Tiggo 8 Pro’s preferred playground, but the ride is composed.
This is no backroad racer, though it’s fast enough and the pick-up is swift.
The result is more reassuringly surefooted than sporting. There’s a dedicated Sport mode, of course, the Tiggo 8 Pro holding the lower gears among other changes.
Some potential buyers would like to see something more powerful, I’m sure, and I was disappointed that Chery didn’t have a full-electric or even just a hybrid version yet given where things are in the industry.
As for pricing and packaging, things kick off at R496 900 for the Tiggo 8 Pro Distinctive while the full house Executive will set you back R546 900.
Its worth noting that the Tiggo 8 Pro offers third row seating. The reality, though, is that the seats are small and both head and legroom back there is tight. Figure on occasional transport for small kids, rather than anything more permanent; Chery makes up for this by making them just as plush as the treatment you get in the first and second rows. They eat into cargo space, too.
The Chery Tiggo 8 Pro is a category-shaking example of what a modern luxury SUV looks and feels like. Competitive where it needs to be, distinct where other would-be luxe contenders opted for homogeneity, and above all confident in what it offers. If even just a small fraction of the heads it turns add up to sales, Chery is on to a winner.
You might also like
More from Cars
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has joined forces with DHL Express for an innovative pilot test featuring the ID.Buzz Cargo fleet in …
As the curtains close on the grand celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Mercedes-Benz Actros in South Africa, Mercedes-Benz …